Pot of Flowers

Painting with Isabelle

I played around with "blob and smoosh" while my youngest granddaughter sat beside me and painted sparkling, fancy ladies. She watched me do the printing for awhile and then did some with her pencil. She didn't want to use the pen - I offered.

I have discovered that I can use the dip pen nibs without the handle. Yeah, I know, it sounds awkward, but it takes up soooo little room in my small bag of sketchbook materials. To me, that's what it is all about - SMALL.

I'm going to spend the next few days getting in some family time, so my blogging may be hit and miss. It always is hit and miss, but may be more so. I hope to get in a lot of sketching time also.

I have some classes posted on my class site. More to come.


Dahlias Sketched on April 20th.

I'm Back.

In my previous post I said my blog would be "hit and miss" for a few days, and it turned out to be just plain "miss". We were in California and I was using a new camera, and everyone had a new computer that I wasn't familiar with . . .

The computers and iPad were great. The camera not so great. I am going to have to play around with it a bit before I can post my sketchbook pages - or use my old camera - I like that idea.

It is cold here in Michigan and we actually had to BUY a bag of oranges when we got home. When we were walking the kids to school one day there were some oranges that had fallen from a near-by tree into the gutter. When I told the kids we would have to pay $1.00 apiece for those oranges at home, they looked at me like I was crazy.

Going from Pacific Time to Eastern, I am now operating on Jet Lag Time, which I will try to use to my advantage for at least another week.


Trying Something New

Blob and Smoosh

"Blob and smoosh" is my "technical term for "softening the edges". It's all about drawing the color out a little to soften the edge of a shape. That's what we are doing in classes this week.

What's new here is the lettering done with watercolor and a dip pen. I hated dip pens and threw mine away. Fortunately, my friend Karen tried this watercolor thing and just happened to have enough pen holders and nibs for both of us. What fun! You can fill the tip with watercolor and keep adding a bit of another color to keep it changing. Something new for our journals!

Maybe these aren't actually dip pens. The nibs are the kind that have two layers that hold a little ink (or in this case, watercolor) in between the layers. Does anyone know what these are called?


In the Backyard

Sitting in the Sun

It feels soooo good to be sitting in the sun! It feels soooo good to be making workshop plans for the summer. I always dread getting all the info together and trying to make sense of a schedule so other people can understand it, but once I get going, I love it!

This morning I was planning an afternoon tea/watercolor journal workshop at one of the historic inns in the neighborhood. Does that sound fun or what?! As soon as I figure out how to say it so you will understand it (it's not you ~ it's me), I will post it.

In the previous post I mentioned that I needed a reminder to tell me to check my calendar and to-do list. Well, I haven't figured that out yet, and yesterday I forgot a meeting. It's kind of like I didn't forget the meeting as much as I forgot to go!!! Sad, huh? I knew earlier in the day that I was going to the meeting, but the next time I remembered it, it was too late. Oooops.


At the Waterfront

Mid-April View at the Waterfront

We have had some wonderful spring-like weather. My friend, Karen, and I went down to the bay to do some watercolor sketches in our journals. It was a perfect day.

The green of the grass is so bright, but there is really very little other color (except brown!) right now. The water and sky were even a little dull. But it FELT wonderful!

Now that I can feel summer really coming, I am getting a little panic stricken about being ready for summer. I always think I have a little more time, and then the weather changes and I realize maybe I don't. I am working on getting out my spring and summer class info. It's always a little more involved than I think it will be. Isn't everything?

It might help if I were to look at my calendar and my to-do list once in awhile. Where do I put the reminder to do that?



Editing Still Life Objects on the Table

In class this morning we worked at getting some quick impressions of some objects on the table, and then we did some sketches to determine the best arrangement for a painting. One of the objectives was to figure out what we would do for a background.

On the left I drew the objects just as I saw them on the table in front of me, and on the right I rearranged and simplified, working out a composition for a small painting.

In the blue and white vase were some purple tulips. I liked the way the purple worked with the colors of the fruit, but as you can see, I didn't get that far. Maybe tomorrow.

Only about ten more pages to go in this sketchbook. It's fun to finish one and it's fun to start a new one. It doesn't take much to excite me.


A Trip Downstate and Back in Time

A Recipe and a Quick Sketch of the old Auditorium on the MSU Campus

My mother used to make "War Dish" and I hadn't had it in at least forty years. My sister-in-law made it this past weekend, and it tasted sooo good. I just googled "war dish" - nothin'.
Maybe no one else in the world ever made it.

I did this quick little sketch while we sat in the sunshine outside the art museum on the MSU campus, waiting for our guys to pick us up. Years ago, when I was in high school, I used to sit there and wait for my dad to pick me up after a Saturday art class at the University.

Wow - a weekend of memories! Fun.

Friday night we went to A Chorus Line, live at the Wharton Center. It was great!


Still Life Objects

Still Life Objects Used for Today's Class.

Today's class did some quick contour drawing and painting in their sketchbooks of these objects. They spent five minutes on a drawing and five minutes painting. We did two or three, and then set them up for a more "serious" still life.

There is something about the quick sketches that seems to give us permission to leave out details and concentrate on what it is that makes a thing ~ vase, bottle, plant ~ what it is. Then when it comes time to do the serious painting we already know how simply we can "say" that.

We have a winter weather advisory for tomorrow!!! That isn't at all unusual for this part of Michigan, but I am SICK OF IT.



A Few Sprigs of Forsythia in my Sketchbook

Dark and rainy today. These little sprigs of forsythia opened up in just a few minutes after bringing them inside. This is another contour ink drawing with watercolor.

I did manage to get Easter dinner on the table. The tablecloth, mentioned in the previous post, cleaned up well, but it really didn't matter - after the cat threw up under the dinner table, the tablecloth didn't seem like any big deal.



Yellow Primrose in my Journal

Somewhere in my collection of sketchbooks I probably have every primrose I have ever purchased. Those pretty, round, colorful blossoms, those cute flop-eared leaves ~ I love 'em. I always buy a yellow one to put on my little purple bench on the front porch. It's the little things in life, huh.

I can't seem to get motivated today to start getting ready for Easter dinner. I did go to the grocery store, and I do know that all my table cloths are clean ~ that's it. That's as far as I am at this point. I work best under pressure, so it'll happen. Maybe later than sooner, but that'll be okay. Right now I think I'll go fill nail holes in the bathroom trim and maybe slap on a coat of primer.

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter!!!
P.S. Ooops - the table cloth isn't so clean anymore. It started to rain, it fell off the line, and . . .well, you know.


St. Francis

Help! I'm Completely Lost in a Tangle of Contour Lines!

I love love love doing contour drawings! Sometimes I do them verrrry sloooowly as I "feel" my way around an object, and sometimes I do them very quickly, moving from shape to shape getting all the information I can in a limited amount of time.

I knew I would be sitting on the bench in the playground across the street from the church for only a few minutes, so I did the drawing quickly - and got lost many times. I made a lot of mistakes and had to backtrack to "correct", and because I was using a pen, the corrections and mistakes are there alongside each other. If I had done it with pencil, I would have spent half my time erasing instead of drawing.

Contour drawing, by the way, is when you don't lift your pen off the paper - you just keep moving.

I'm in the mood to do some contour drawings of street scenes. The weather is great here today - strange for April. I do have a huge to-do list which includes getting groceries for our family Easter dinner. Let's see - go out drawing? Go to the grocery store?